Power in D/s

Who has power in a Dominance/submission relationship?

This is a discussion that I’ve been getting myself involved in a lot lately, and I’ve had a chance to really examine things I learned about this a long time ago. I think it is important to be able to state the reason for your beliefs beyond just “it is what I was taught.” If you cannot give reasoning beyond that, then you have knowledge, but no wisdom.

So here are my thoughts on this. Take it for what you will, but it does play an important part in my overall philosophy of BDSM.

So, in a Dominance and submission dynamic, Continue reading

Why Can’t You Dominate Me?

I ran into a very interesting submissive online, and I had to share it here because – well because it ended up being a very good lesson for me to learn.

Primarily, what to watch out for.

The Set Up

So, another Dominant asks her fellow female Dominants what specific challenges they face with submissives. I’m interested in this, since I have not chosen a submissive yet (I’m still in the learning stage, after all). It would be good to know the expectations a submissive will have of me as a female Dominant and what things can go wrong so that I can prepare.

The Bait

A submissive came in and declared the female Dominant to be a fairy tale because she had never met one who could effectively dominate her.

Hook, Line and Stinker

So, my first thought was that this was a submissive who just had a bad experience. It can happen. I had an okay exchange with her, doing my best to be even and respectful. Others were not so lucky. She maintained a belligerent attitude throughout the entire discussion until she was finally banned for breaking forum rules.

Respect. Always respect. Even if you dislike something or have had a bad experience.

And she just could not seem to take that rule to heart.

As I continued to read her posts, something else became apparent: she had poor expectations of what she expected power exchange to be or what a Dominant is actually supposed to do. While she may have had one or two legitimate bad experiences, that she maintained the incorrect expectations of a D/s exchange means that she will be destined to never have the type of power exchange relationship she is wanting.

Mostly because what she is wanting is something no good Dominant will do. In essence, she expected to have a Dominant just tell her what was going to happen in the scene, and do it. No real discussion of limits and expectations. No getting to know the Dominant before a scene. The Dominant, in her mind, is just supposed to go and magically know how to not break limits.

The irony in this is that she did not like to scene with male Dominants because in her experience, male Dominants always pushed limits.

If you’re sitting here silently scratching your head, imagine it from my point of view. The expression of not liking male Dominants was pretty early on in the conversation, before she actually laid out how she expected scenes to go from a submissive point of view.

The Take Away

Communication.

We talk about how you should sit down and discuss scenes, but what I saw in that exchange just really drove home how important it is to not take answers like “I have no limits” or “I’ll safe word if you go too far” or “I’m sure you can figure it out” as answers when discussing limits and boundaries.

And please, submissives, don’t try to offer up those answers to a potential Dominant. If you have found a good Dom, one who wants to understand your limits, then be courteous enough to offer them up. If you don’t know them, figure them out. If you’re not sure how far you can go, it is okay to set up soft limits for yourself, as long as you make sure that you let the Dominant know. Something like “We’ll, I’m into temperature play, but I’ve not really had a chance to see just how much heat and cold I can take. I’ve set myself a limit of medium heat wax for candles and brief contact with ice. It’s a soft limit because I would like to see what I can take beyond it.”

That is perfectly acceptable. It gives the Dominant an idea of a starting point for you. It also sets the expectation immediately for the potential Dominant that you will want to push the limit. In that one way of limiting your “limitless” self, you have set up a structured guideline that your Dominant will be able to use to help you reach the limits you want to find.

No unknowingly breaking limits.

No frustration.

You see, your Dominant’s job is to guide you through a scene. Your Dominant’s job is to take hold of the power you give over.

Your Dominant’s job is not to tell you what power you will give up. Your Dominant’s job is not to tell you your limits and what you will take. When you sit down with your potential Dominant to discuss, you have to know what power you will hand over. Yes, it can be tedious. BDSM is not the way it is in fiction. It is not even the way it is in my fiction all the time.

In Heather in Haven, Heather and Mistress Victoria have a very quick discussion of limits. In a real, healthy BDSM dynamic, nothing would have occurred the way it does in the book. Heather would have been introduced to Victoria in a more Vanilla setting. The two would have talked about limits, desires, and needs well before Victoria even touched Heather. They most likely would have had several meetings to socialize and talk before ever having a scene together.

But – Heather in Haven is a fantasy. It is fun in the fantasy to have that sudden meet up, the arrangement of submissive being led to her perfect Dominant. It is not how it works in life, and if that is what you expect, then you will never find yourself fulfilled in a real D/s exchange.

Submission and Respect

Time to continue my discussion about Submission.

This is a tough subject for me because I hold respect to be one of the most important things to have and show in both the BDSM community and within a dynamic.

What does respect mean to me?

On one hand, it is what you earn. You behave in a way that engenders respect from other people. That may be those people listening to you and valuing your opinion. It may be that person seeking you out as a mentor/Dominant/submissive/etc. It may be receiving a title from your peers because of the knowledge and skill you show. What all of these things mean, however, is that you have lived in a way that brings that respect to you.

On the other, it is what we all show. We do not have to genuflect to people to respect them. We do, however, have to remember, even when we disagree with them, that they are human beings. It does not mean that we don’t call out people when we see something wrong, or bad. It does mean that we speak to them like we are both adults. We don’t get petty. We don’t get back-stabby.

We don’t go behind their backs, or do other things that would anger us if they were done to us.

In a way, do unto others is the ultimate lesson of respect. Continue reading

Some Gals Just Like to Be Tied Up

For some disclosure … in my early adult life, I flitted from job to job, not really sure what I wanted to do. During this time, I found myself out of work and desperate. A close friend of mine had an interesting proposal. She needed a personal secretary, someone to answer phones and help keep her books. I would get some valuable experience and she would have the help she needed. It just happened to be this friend was a professional Dominatrix. From her, I was introduced into the BDSM sub-culture (or the Scene) of the 1990′s, not as an active participant, but an inside observer. I developed an interest in it that remains to this day.

BDSM has a wide interpretation. At its most basic, it is Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism. Each pairing has its own meanings and its own connotations. These connotations are not always good. We tend to think of sadism as cruelty or submission as weakness. While these images and meanings may play their part in the Scene, they do not define it or its different aspects.

Continue reading